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As 2020 nears its finish . . .  2021 looms.

It’s been difficult for church leaders to plan much of anything organizationally in 2020. As we near 2021, it seems as though for a while, planning far ahead is going to be similarly difficult in the New Year.

Pre-COVID, we used to advise organizations to think two-three years down the road in terms of vision and playbook. Currently, it seems as though most leaders can only think about two-three weeks down the road.

While planning ahead organizationally may not be possible right now in the same way we’ve historically approached it . . . we can plan personally for 2021. So that’s what I’d like us to explore today. Many reading this post may have never put a plan like this in place. My goal is to help you get started.

A great personal growth plan starts with asking five questions: What, Why, Who, Where, and When. So let me try to briefly unpack each question.

What: What are the desired outcomes of your plan?

What do you hope to achieve from your personal growth plan? Are you wanting to get more physically fit? Have better relationships? Become a more effective leader? What do you want to start doing in 2021? What do you want to stop doing? What do you want to learn about?

Write down your desired outcomes and then set some goals under each one. One of my desired outcomes in 2021 is better health. So under that outcome, I’ve set goals for my weight, strength and cardio training, along with my eating.

Why: Why Do I Want Those Outcomes?

Once you’ve defined what outcomes you want, than the next question to ask is, Why do I want better health? Stronger relationships? More confident leadership? What larger picture will these outcomes contribute to? A great personal growth plan reflects on the why. Example: One reason I want better health in 2021 is I know it will positively impact my leadership . . . in terms of family, the Converge Coaching team, and our collective mission and vision. Being physically fit better positions me to make the most of 2021.

Who: Who will speak into my life in 2021? Whose life will I speak into?

Every successful athlete, businessman . . . you name the profession—has several people speaking into their life. For me, that means continuing to meet with my mentors, with people who hold me accountable. It includes people who will speak into my life with their books, blogs, and podcasts. I’ve put training opportunities under the who category.

But personal growth is not confined to only what’s happening on the inside of me. Growth has to do with not only what I take in, but also what I give out. Who will I disciple in 2021? Who will I mentor? Who will I come alongside and encourage? You may not have a name for these individuals yet, but set a challenging goal for who you’ll speak into. Now . . . you have to be invited to speak into another person’s life. But it starts with you showing genuine interest in them.

Where: Where will I document the plan?

Our personal growth plan can’t reside just in our head. We need to write it down. So write the plan in a planner, or a journal, or a word doc for that matter. Something powerful happens when I get what’s inside my noggin into written form. It makes the plan feel more official. I’m more accountable when the plan is in ink.

When: When will I accomplish the plan?

A plan without time constraints and due dates is a recipe for failure. Put deadlines into your plan, and celebrate when you meet them! Consistency and progress—not perfection—is the key with your plan.

2020 has been a year of challenge and change and disruption. Of stress and opportunity. Of learning and growing. 2021 awaits. Let’s plan to make the most of the 365 days 2021 will afford us by putting together a personal growth plan.

Planning together with you for an incredible 2021,

John

John Opalewski

Author John Opalewski

John Opalewski is a graduate of Oral Roberts University. He served as a pastor for fifteen years. He has worked in the business world for nearly two decades, serving in multiple leadership roles. John's experience as a leader in both the church and business arenas has made him a sought-after international speaker, coach and mentor.

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